Best Cyber Ranger?

Friends, you may have heard about the annual Best Ranger Competition where our nations best operators compete for that coveted title.  It seems USARCENT is taking the best ranger concept and applying it to cyber warfare in the form of “Best Cyber Ranger 2018”. The Ranger community and cyber ops are both near and dear to our hearts but this… this video; this STUPID VIDEO… We’ve got nothing…

SOURCE – Motherboard.vice.com

Helvetica Is Now An Encryption Device

Researchers have figured out a way to embed encryption into typed blocks of text on paper. Their secret weapon? Helvetica and Times New Roman.  Fonts have been transformed into encryption tools. A new paper by a group of researchers at Columbia University details a method for making tiny changes to fonts that the human eye can’t detect but that look entirely different to a computer vision algorithm. A demo of the technology, dubbed “Fontcode,” shows how they were able to embed the secret message “Hello World!” into a paragraph taken from The Lord of the Rings.

The researchers use an algorithm from previous research that can slowly shift letter forms from one typeface to another to make tiny changes in the shape of every letter that the human eye can’t detect. That could make an “h” slightly thicker in the stem,” or the curve of a “j” slightly sharper.

Once they had these “perturbed” letters, the researchers could make 52 variations of each letter. Each of the 52 variations corresponds to every other lowercase and capital letter in the alphabet (and theoretically every numeral and punctuation mark as well). These 52 variations for each letter go into what the researchers call a “code book” that helps the computer match the perturbed letter it sees with the secret letter it’s encoding.  Check it out:

SOURCE –Fastcodesign.com

MRAM – Semiconductors that run forwards and backwards?

Magnetic RAM (MRAM) could one day break modern encryption methods.  So says Engineers from Purdue University and University of California at Berkeley.

Modern encryption relies upon the fact that certain mathematical operations are inherently difficult to undo with an inverse action. Current generation hardware typically has a set of inputs and a set of outputs to handle the computation required by encryption algorithms. Importantly, there is no way to reverse the actions performed in hardware without major efforts and a lot of time.

Circuits have been designed to have an adjustable degree of randomness. The device has been named a P-bit to note the controlled probability of the output.  P-bits can be combined to build logic gates and arithmetic circuits capable of performing inverse operations. Circuits that act as adders can be made to perform subtractions while multiplier circuits can factor out products.

Pushing a stream of random bits into the output of a logic gate will cause the inputs of the gate to reveal what inputs would produce the output presented. With enough combinations fed through a circuit in reverse, the original input data can be found exponentially faster than traditional brute force methods.

SOURCE – TechSpot.com

Quantum-Proof Blockchains?

Researchers in Russia say they’ve developed and tested the world’s first blockchain that won’t be vulnerable to encryption-breaking attacks from future quantum computers.  This technique could be a means of protecting fast-growing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum which are safe from today’s code-breaking methods, but could be exposed by tomorrow’s vastly more powerful quantum machines.  A team from the Russian Quantum Centre in Moscow says its quantum blockchain technology has been successfully tested with one of Russia’s largest banks, Gazprombank, and could be used as a proof of concept to underpin secure data encryption and storage methods in the future.

Blockchain what?

Blockchain is a publicly accessible, decentralized ledger of recorded information, spread across multiple computers on the internet.  This kind of distributed database is the underlying technology that makes Bitcoin possible where it maintains a list of time-stamped digital transactions that can be viewed by anyone on the platform.  The idea is that the blockchain frees users on the network from needing any kind of middleman or central authority to regulate transactions or exchanges of information.  Because all interactions are recorded in the distributed ledger, the blockchain makes everything a matter of public record, which, when it comes to Bitcoin, is what ensures that transactions are legitimate, and that units of the currency aren’t duplicated.  Check out the video below…

But there’s a problem…

When a computer conducts a transaction, the system uses digital signatures for authentication purposes and while that protection layer may offer strong enough encryption to secure those exchanges today, they won’t be able to withstand quantum computers.

“In our quantum-secure blockchain setup, we get rid of digital signatures altogether.  Instead, we utilize quantum cryptography for authentication…”

Quantum cryptography depends on entangled particles to work, and the researchers’ system used what’s called quantum key distribution, which the researchers say makes it possible to make sure nobody’s eavesdropping on private communications.

SOURCE: Sciencealert.com

Chinese diamond experiment may help crack one of the world’s toughest codes…

An experiment in China using diamonds has put quantum code-breaking a step closer to reality, threatening to one day break the digital encryption technologies that safeguard banks, governments and the military.  In their experiment, quantum physicists in Hefei, Anhui province, reportedly broke down the number 35 into its factors – the numbers five and seven – on a new type of quantum computing device built inside a diamond.

The process, known as factorization, is the key to cracking the most popular digital algorithm used in encryption today.  The research was led by quantum physicist Professor Du Jiangfeng at the University of Science and Technology of China, and details of the results were published in the journal Physical Review Letters in March 2017.

The popular RSA algorithm, developed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman in the 1970s, uses the product of two large prime numbers to encrypt a message.  Only people who know the two prime numbers can decode the message, because it is practically impossible to factor the product of two prime numbers when they were sufficiently large.  An enormous amount of digital computing power and thousands of years would be needed to determine the prime numbers used in the RSA system.  But, in theory, a quantum computer could break a RSA code in the blink of an eye.

Professor Duan Changkui, another researcher involved in the experiment, said many technical challenges had to be overcome before the device could be used to break a code. These problems ranged from precise control of particles to better diamonds.

“The artificial diamonds must be extremely pure, and their nitrogen-vacancy centres perfectly aligned. The manufacturing process is very difficult,” he said.  “It is not easy to predict when the first practical machine could be built.”  But cryptographers were bracing for a battle…

RSA is just one type of algorithm. There are other mathematical methods of encryption that cannot be decoded by large-number factorization (like OTPSME), and these will be the second or third line of defense…

SOURCE: South China Morning Post

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